Gian and Pam Rossini
San Jose Grocery Outlet
Gian Rossini was 19 years old when he was first introduced to Grocery Outlet. Gian’s father Frank Rossini was head of operations of the company for years and told Gian that he had to get a job. He said Gian could work at Grocery Outlet (Canned Foods at that time), but that Gian had to carry his own weight and would not get special treatment.
Fresh out of high school, he had held a couple of jobs, but Grocery Outlet stood out to him as the most consistent of his options, one that also projected his best chance in growth within a company. With this in mind, Gian climbed the Grocery Outlet ranks, soon achieving an entry-level management position. Ten years after he started as an employee, he became an Operator, a title he holds proudly to this day.
“When I got married, I had to take a serious look at my future,” he said. “Already a happy employee at Grocery Outlet, the chance to become an Operator was right there in front of me, and I reached for it.”
In the beginning of his career, Gian reminisced on the adolescence of Grocery Outlet. “Back then, there were only 11 stores. Those were the prehistoric days of remarketer groceries: getting damaged foods. Now, we’re a true overstock marketer. We’re a bigger company, but with the same values we started out with.”
The difference, in Gian’s opinion, is that Grocery Outlet is not a supermarket; rather, Grocery Outlet is a remarketer. He believes the other difference lies within the business itself. Being able to self-sufficiently own and operate his Grocery Outlet store helps him connect with his community as he personally recognizes the need of his neighbors. “We carry things that help customers save 40-70% on their grocery bills,” Gian said. His continued store success has reciprocated him in his career, receiving the Jim Reed award, named after Grocery Outlet’s founder. Gian first won the coveted award in 1989, and then again in 2010, with his wife.
Pam Rossini joined her husband in the Grocery Outlet business, and they soon figured out a balanced system that worked for them. She runs the office, finances and inventory; he runs the physical presence of the store. “I couldn’t have done it with Pam or my dad,” stated Gian. “And it is such a joy to have had my children work with us on and off over the years. In fact, my 26-year-old daughter is now an Assistant Supervisor.”
“To go into this business, you need to love retail and the grocery world. You need to love people and interacting with people, as you can’t hide behind a desk or in an office. It’s a job you take home with you every night,” Gian explained. “This is basically the American dream: having your own business.”